Soon after I got my degree in Translation, I began working in the marketing department of a software development company. Language skills, one of the job requirements, were used to develop international advertising campaigns, to organise and take part in international trade shows and to translate all the software-related documents. So far, nothing new, and I'm sure this career start was very similar for many other graduates in this area. I tried to combine my translation work with other "more valuable" tasks as best I could. I have very happy memories of that time and it was certainly a very rewarding experience. However, because I didn't know much about the translation tools around at the time, I kept thinking that there had to be a way of optimising the work.
Looking back at this business context from ten years on, with the filter of someone who has been totally and exclusively immersed in the translation market, I can see that the reality is still very much the same as it was then.
Alexandra Albuquerque, a professor at ISCAP, made a very interesting point on this matter, in her doctoral thesis, whose main aim is to "understand how companies manage specialised terminology and languages in multilingual communication contexts, particularly when mediated by translation."
The information collected on language practices in a number of companies led her to conclude that "hiring staff with foreign language skills is one of the strategies used by companies to deal with multilingual communication situations, where ad hoc mediation skills (translation or interpretation) are expected." The same study also shows that "although companies do not invest much in "translation", except when strictly necessary, they are aware of the importance of speaking the client's language."
So, if companies understand its importance, why do so few of them invest in translation services?
But is that really the case?
Another study, by Jukka-Pekka Peltonen, concluded that:
Therefore, it is up to companies to make decisions and implement a language management strategy with the best benefit-cost ratio.
What advantages does accurate and efficient communication bring to companies?
And our role, as professionals? Is there any way we can develop our value proposal for these companies in a way that we can create a culture where this accuracy is actually valued as a critical factor in the business of any company.